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NAGATO /Japan/, December 15. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin read a letter from one of the former residents of the South Kuril Islands, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a press conference in the city of Nagato, which was broadcast live by the Japanese TV.
"At our private meeting, I handed letters from the former residents of the South Kuril Islands, with whom I have met recently, over to president Putin who read one of the letters written in Russian," Abe said.
Russia and Japan have been holding consultations since the mid-20th century in order to clinch a peace treaty as a follow-up to World War II. The Kuril Islands issue remains the sticking point since after WWII when the islands were handed over to the Soviet Union while Japan has laid claims to the four southern islands. In 1956, the two countries signed a common declaration on ending the state of war and restoring diplomatic and all other relations, but the islands issue was not solved. At the same time, the Soviet Union expressed willingness to hand the Shikotan and Habomai islands over to Japan as a gesture of goodwill.
However, a peace treaty has still not been reached.